A New Year’s Eve wedding takes an already memorable event and turns it into an evening never forgotten. Glamorous holiday elements and decor sparkle and shine as they compete for attention with diamond encrusted rings being exchanged with the vows. The reception spread has an extra twist as it takes on the winter holiday theme. The ball drop at midnight signifies “out with the old, in with the new” for more than just a calendar, but a way of being for the couple as well - as they say goodbye to their old selves and embark on a new journey as one.
These are just some of the reasons we jumped at the chance to shoot Tony and Ninette’s New Year’s Eve wedding last year in San Francisco. The other reason? Because the ceremony took place at San Francisco’s stunning marble-clad city hall.
A Chinese couple in a city with a rich history of providing the raw materials and heart and spirit that many immigrants have taken advantage of on their way to a new life, Tony and Ninette decided to capture the magic of downtown San Francisco as the launching point for their own new life together. And, like many in this city, they beautifully joined the traditions and culture of their families with the heritage of America.
Ninette dawned a beautiful red suit marked with ancient patterns and embroidery. Tony bought her a stunning bouquet of dark red and soft white and pink roses to take with them to a tea time with her parents. The gathering was full of excitement and laughter - a perfect way to start the day. After Ninette’s mother latched a dazzling gold bracelet around her wrist, we whisked the couple away for some fun “first look” shots in the city. Not going to lie - we took several ‘first look’ shots that day. But the magic was still there!
After this first session, Ninette put on her long, flowy white wedding gown and we headed to City Hall for some more ‘first look’ shots. The long, broad marbled staircase flanked by golden railings and surrounded by the Roman style architecture of the dome built incredible anticipation as Ninette elegantly made her way up the staircase to Tony, and the regal Christmas tree atop the staircase watched as the two exchanged the shy glances of new lovers overcome by anticipation. It was a scene worthy enough to become the backdrop of the next Disney fairy tale. After the photos, we headed into a more intimate location in the building to capture the small ceremony for just the bride and groom and their families. It was a wonderful moment, and tears streamed down Ninette’s cheeks as they completed their “I do’s”.
After the ceremony, we took advantage of the historic building’s wide halls and gaping gateways to the outside to capture some wonderful shots of the couple looking out over the city. The golden rays of the sunset found their way inside and danced across the stone and marble walls to set the stage for some intimate shots against a backdrop of soft white light before they faded into the night.
We finished our time at the historic governance and headed out to Berkeley to celebrate the newlyweds (and New Year) at the Claremont. It was a party to remember! The two made a royal entrance behind two cute flower girls and their parents before making a champagne waterfall to kick off the festivities for the evening. Ninette changed into a beautiful red traditional dress and we partied until the new year came (literally).
Looking for a place to celebrate a New Year’s Eve wedding in the Bay Area? We highly recommend the Claremont in Berkeley